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The rate of sea-level rise

A. Cazenave 1 H. B. Dieng B. Meyssignac 1 K. von Schuckmann B. Decharme E. Berthier 2
LEGOS - Laboratoire d'études en Géophysique et océanographie spatiales
2 CRYO - Cryosphère satelittaire
LEGOS - Laboratoire d'études en Géophysique et océanographie spatiales
Abstract : Present-day sea-level rise is a major indicator of climate change(1). Since the early 1990s, sea level rose at a mean rate of similar to 3.1 mm yr(-1) (refs 2,3). However, over the last decade a slowdown of this rate, of about 30%, has been recorded(4-8). It coincides with a plateau in Earth's mean surface temperature evolution, known as the recent pause in warming(1,9-12). Here we present an analysis based on sea-level data from the altimetry record of the past similar to 20 years that separates interannual natural variability in sea level from the longer-term change probably related to anthropogenic global warming. The most prominent signature in the global mean sea level interannual variability is caused by El Nino-Southern Oscillation, through its impact on the global water cycle(13-16). We find that when correcting for interannual variability, the past decade's slowdown of the global mean sea level disappears, leading to a similar rate of sea-level rise (of 3.3 +/- 0.4mm yr(-1)) during the first and second decade of the altimetry era. Our results confirm the need for quantifying and further removing from the climate records the short-term natural climate variability if one wants to extract the global warming signal(10).
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Contributor : Etienne Berthier <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 23, 2014 - 4:29:28 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 3:31:24 AM




A. Cazenave, H. B. Dieng, B. Meyssignac, K. von Schuckmann, B. Decharme, et al.. The rate of sea-level rise. Nature Climate Change, Nature Publishing Group, 2014, 4 (5), pp.358-361. ⟨10.1038/nclimate2159⟩. ⟨hal-01011352⟩



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